Laxatives help you go to the bathroom and may work well for occasional constipation -- but they can be harmful if you take them regularly.
There are different kinds of laxatives.
Osmotic laxatives include lactulose, which is prescribed by a doctor, and polyethylene glycol (Miralax), which you can buy over the counter.
They pull water back into the colon to soften stool. That makes it easier to pass, but research has found that they only help with constipation.
They may actually make other IBS symptoms worse. Side effects include diarrhea, dehydration, and bloating.
Osmotics are considered fairly safe for long-term use for some people with IBS-C, but talk it over with your doctor before you use them regularly.
Keywords: IBS constipation laxatives; laxatives IBS constipation.